Long-time SimLabs resident astronaut and MFRA employee, Colonel Karol “Bo” Bobko, USAF (Ret), has been selected as a FELLOW by The Society of Experimental Test Pilots (SETP). The presentation of the “Fellows Class of 2020” will take place at the 64th Symposium Banquet in the Sequoia Ballroom of the Grand Californian Hotel in Anaheim, California on Saturday, September 26, 2020.
Since his assignment as a NASA astronaut in September 1969, Colonel Bobko has played a key test role in NASA’s high visibility manned space flight programs including the Skylab Medical Experiments Altitude Test (SMEAT) and the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP). He also served as CAPCOM and prime chase pilot during the initial Space Shuttle Approach and Landing Test flights conducted at Edwards Air Force Base, California. In preparation for the first flight of Columbia (STS-1), Colonel Bobko served as the lead astronaut in the test and checkout group at Kennedy Space Center.
A veteran of three space flights, Bobko has logged a total of 386 hours in Space. He was the pilot on STS-6 maiden flight of the Space Shuttle Challenger (April 4-9, 1983); and was the mission commander on STS-51D Discovery (April 12-19, 1985) and STS-51J Atlantis (October 3-7, 1985) missions. He is the only Astronaut to have flown on the maiden flights of the two Space Shuttles, and the first Air Force Academy graduate to become a NASA astronaut.
Preceding this distinguished recognition by SETP, Colonel Bobko has received the Air Force Academy Jabara Award for Airmanship in 1983. He was inducted into the Brooklyn Tech Alumni Hall of Fame in 1999, the Cradle of Aviation Museum in 2009, and the Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2011. He received a Heritage Recognition from the National Reconnaissance Office in 2019. He is a Distinguished Member of the Association of Space Explorers and an Associate Fellow in the Society of Experimental Test Pilots. A former President of the U.S. Chapter of the Association of Space Explorers, Bobko continues to serve on the ASE Board of Directors.
In 2005, Bo became Program Manager of the NASA Ames Research Center Simulation Labs (SimLabs) contract. The facilities and capabilities under this contract allow the latest technology in the real world to be integrated with the latest technology in the virtual world resulting in extraordinary simulations. NASA considers this program a crucial asset and includes the Virtual Motion System facility in the Strategic Capabilities Assets Program. In 2014, he retired as Program Manager and has continued to perform as a highly valued member of MFRA’s SimLabs III contract team.